Foreigners purchasing van in USA
Replies: 24 - Last Post: Feb 5, 2013 7:57 PM Last Post By: Saffa2013
Jan 8, 2013 6:49 PM
Jan 8, 2013 7:08 PM
Jan 8, 2013 8:08 PM
Jan 9, 2013 2:42 AM
Jan 9, 2013 5:35 AM
Jan 9, 2013 5:38 AM
Jan 9, 2013 11:42 AM
6The logistics of purchasing a van will vary by state. Since you're living in the U.S. on a J1 visa, that means you have an address in a particular state. That makes it much easier than a visitor who doesn't have a U.S. address.
You'll need to look into car registration and insurance procedures for your particular state.
Jan 9, 2013 11:53 AM
7Depends on which state as each state has different rules but in my own experience(RI) you need to show residency in that state usually in the form of a lease on your apartment or utility bill to an instate address (note that this has nothing to do with your visa status). Bottom line is that there is no legal reason for you not to be able to and the average car buyer can get insurence and registration sorted out in a day or two. And depending where you buy and sell your vehicle, you might make most your money back. (buy in florida sell in north east for example..no rust..)
it is a good idea.
Jan 9, 2013 2:06 PM
8I would guess it would be harder to see the van than to buy it. Nice van for $2500 sitting a few blocks away from my house. Would be relatively easy to buy it here in Pennsylvania, but then what?
Probably depends where you start and how much you pay for a van, e.g I know a guy who bought a Jeep Cherokee at a yard sale for $200 and drove it from Pa to Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, & Arizona then back. He was lucky as he had no problems and he gave it to a neighbor kid when he returned.
Jan 9, 2013 9:50 PM
9For a month forget about it. I think you will spend one week finding a van, one week getting paperwork and the last week getting rid of the car. But you have a dream so check the DMV websites for different states. States like NY, California, NJ will be difficult. Places like Texas, New Hampshire, PA, will be easier. If you only have foreign paperwork I think forget about it but if you have some kind of student status and have an address, etc... it may be doable but it is a pain in the ass in some states for people who live here. Not so easy.
Jan 9, 2013 9:53 PM
10Also, to be clear. To buy a van is no big deal. You pay for it, they sign the title and you drive away. The problem is to register it and get your plate. Most states have notary or courier services that expedite registration of vehicles. Call some of them and ask someone who actually knows. Some states I bet you can get away with it very easily. Others not so much. You definitely do not need to be a citizen or a resident, lots of illegal aliens register cars. Do your research in advance and it may be easy (courier says bring x, y and z with $xxx)
Jan 10, 2013 5:13 AM
Jan 10, 2013 6:50 AM
12It depends on the J-1. If it is the summer work/travel program, then they will have a maximum of 5 months--four months for work and 30 days for travel afterwards. Most have shorter work periods as students don't usually have a 5-month summer vacation. Camp counselor is similar.
Other J-1 categories have longer durations, but it doesn't sound like the OP is coming to be a school teacher or a research scholar.
For a 3-4 month stay, it might be worthwhile to buy a vehicle for the whole stay. You may find that you are abased in some area with poor or non-exitant public transit.
The biggest problem for non-residents is providing an address in the state where you buy the car. If you will be renting an apartment or staying in campus housing, with a real mailing address, then you will have an address.
Insurance is mandatory. In most cases, you must use an insurance company licensed in the state where you register the car.
Jan 10, 2013 7:54 AM
13Are you already in the US? I'd think you'd be more successful asking help from a knowledgeable class mate or your host families... Keep in mind you might have to get US driver's licenses as well, depends a little on which state you're in and how long your stay is. Buying a van sounds like a good idea to me! Just set aside some time to sell it in the end, unless you're willing to sell it for cheap!
Jan 10, 2013 7:51 PM
14Best bet is not to ask friends or family. Best bet is to Google the licensing department of the state government in which you'll be living (e.g., Department of Motor Vehicles, or Department of Licensing). That's because misinformation is common, all good intentions aside. How many people posting above do you think have actually tried to buy and register cars in the USA as residents of foreign countries?
The key elements: insurance from Progressive Insurance (Google it). Registration depends on the specific state, with some impossible and some easy (Google it). Re-selling your car is the crux (per above).
FWIW, California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington are usually reported to be easy. There are others, too.
Hope that's helpful.
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